Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Play ball: Five MLB games on tap today

MadBum to take hill for champion Giants vs. A's; three other contests available on MLB.TV

Major League Baseball games are back.

Madison Bumgarner, who threw the last pitch of the 2014 season 125 days ago for the Giants in Game 7 of an unforgettable World Series against Kansas City, is scheduled to start for the defending champs against Oakland today at 3:05 p.m. ET in one of the first five scheduled Spring Training openers between Major League clubs.

In addition, this milestone day is featuring Orioles at Tigers, Yankees at Phillies and Pirates at Blue Jays, all underway, and Indians at Reds, beginning at 3:05. The Red Sox, Marlins and D-backs are each playing exhibitions against college opponents from their hometowns, which makes nine games on the docket. And so begins the 2015 journey.

Bumgarner will go one inning, according to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, so don't expect the left-hander to pitch nearly as long as he did in relief in his most recent outing. It's that time when pitchers go one or maybe two innings, substitutions and high jersey numbers abound, pitchers do their outfield sprints during play, the smells of hot dogs and grass and leather fill the air, and we get used to the sight of new players in new places.

Baseball and technology finally meet again on this day, with the first live streams of games over MLB.TV and an eventful day with an updated At Bat app. Yankees-Phillies, Pirates-Blue Jays and Indians-Reds are the three live MLB.TV streams today, with no blackout restrictions.

"Baseball is a big part of my life during the summer, and I'm always sad to see the season [summer and baseball] end," said Bob Frey, a 20-game Reds season-ticket holder and a second-year MLB.TV Premium subscriber. "Mostly due to the fact I have to listen to all my NFL friends for what seems like forever. But once March Madness starts getting talked about, it's about the same time pitchers and catchers report, and I am so excited for that first Spring Training game."

You can relate, right? Here's a closer look at the first day of action involving MLB clubs against each other:

Orioles vs. Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.
These clubs open with a home-and-home series against each other, and Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut Wednesday in Sarasota. Yoenis Cespedes debuts today for Detroit. Listen to WXYT radio play-by-play on the At Bat app.

Yankees vs. Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.
So begins life after Derek Jeter for the Bronx Bombers. Adam Warren was the first of many scheduled Yankees pitchers. There's also a big changeover at short for the Phillies, who are moving on from the Jimmy Rollins era with Freddy Galvis. This game can be seen live on MLB.TV, and it will be shown on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET.

Pirates vs. Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla.
New Toronto catcher Russell Martin greeted his former teammates in their Grapefruit League opener. Casey Sadler started for the Pirates and was to go two innings, to be followed by Stolmy Pimentel, Bobby LaFromboise, Rob Scahill, Brad Lincoln, Arquimedes Caminero and Josh Wall. Aaron Sanchez was the first pitcher for the Blue Jays, who now sport Josh Donaldson in their infield. This game can be seen live on MLB.TV and MLB Network.

Indians vs. Reds in Goodyear, Ariz.
Whatever journeyman right-hander and non-roster invitee Jason Marquis has left to offer Cincinnati, his spring bid for a spot on the Reds' staff is underway. "We've got a lot of guys we need to see," Reds manager Bryan Price said. Meanwhile, Zach McAllister was first on the mound for Cleveland, as the club begins sorting out whether McAllister fits as a starter or reliever. Guys like Michael Brantley and Billy Hamilton returned to game action, a sign of spring. This game can be seen live on MLB.TV, and it will be shown on MLB Network at 4 p.m. ET.

Giants vs. Athletics in Mesa, Ariz.
It's the first look at the Giants against a Major League club since they clinched their third World Series title in five seasons. Oakland manager Bob Melvin quipped of San Francisco's starting pitcher: "He just finished pitching like a week ago, didn't he?" For Bumgarner, it apparently is time to remove a little rust. "I'm looking forward to getting out there, facing some hitters and getting back into competition at game speed, playing baseball," he said. This game is also a chance to get a first look at second baseman Ben Zobrist and first baseman Billy Butler hitting third and fourth in the A's lineup. Brad Mills will pitch first for Oakland. Listen to the Giants' KNBR radio feed or an audio-only webcast for Oakland on At Bat.

There are four exhibitions involving college opponents. The Red Sox are playing a pair of split-squad games in Fort Myers, Fla., against hometown colleges, with Clay Buchholz starting against the Northeastern Huskies and Wade Miley the probable first pitcher against Boston College (the BC game is on WEEI via At Bat). Jose Urena was the scheduled starter for the Marlins in their exhibition against the University of Miami in Jupiter, Fla. (on WINZ via At Bat). At Salt River Fields in Phoenix, the D-backs will take on Arizona State, with Andrew Chafin the first scheduled pitcher for Arizona (on KTAR via At Bat).

There are another 12 games on Wednesday's schedule, with these games scheduled to be streamed live on MLB.TV: Phillies at Yankees, Reds at Indians, Padres at Mariners, White Sox at Dodgers and University of Minnesota at Twins.

It is time to get back in the habit of checking the MLB schedule, the probable pitchers, the scoreboard and video highlights.

MLB.TV is expanding its offerings this year with new interactive features and connected devices, while maintaining the same 2014 pricing of $129.99 yearly and $24.99 monthly for MLB.TV Premium and $109.99/$19.99, respectively, for basic MLB.TV.

All MLB.TV subscribers will have access to more than 250 live games from Spring Training in Florida and Arizona -- including via supported connected devices for the first time. In addition to all live out-of-market regular-season games, MLB.TV once again will stream every game of the World Series and the 86th All-Star Game, scheduled for July 14 in Cincinnati.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of Read and join other baseball fans on his community blog.